Employees: Assets? Liabilities? BOTH!

Employees:  Assets?  Liabilities?  BOTH!


“It Happened So Slowly That We Just Didn’t Realize It”


Davis Kelly is a second-generation masonry contractor who learned the craft from his father.  Over the years, he and his teams have worked as subcontractors to some of the largest general contractors in town and have completed countless projects across a wide variety of industries.  To say that Davis was living the American dream was pretty accurate.  He was fortunate enough to make a good living doing what he loves.

In the past, he had reliable crews and many of the tradesmen had been with him for at least a few years.  Lately, though, it seems that there have been a lot of new faces around the jobsites either due to injuries or workers simply moving on.  Still, Davis looked forward to going to work every day – that is until his workers comp renewal notice arrived!

‘Unaffordable’ and ‘Vital’ Are Like Oil and Water — They Just Don’t Mix!

It’s never fun to receive bills in the mail but when Davis saw that his workers comp insurance was going up by 40% for the coming year, he was alarmed to say the least! Davis knew that members of his crews had minor incidents here and there – things like back strains and cuts – but since his jobs never fell behind, he brushed them off as normal incidents of the trade.

Davis contacted his workers comp provider to get details.  Because his employees logged seven workers comp claims over the past year, their scoring went from 1.0 up to 1.5 (which, cost-wise, was a BIG deal!).  It turns out that the insurer was invested in Davis’s business only enough to process the claims and pay the bills that came in without helping to manage or mitigate claims – and they definitely didn’t provide any type of education to prevent claims from happening in the first place.  Since each claims handler juggles several hundred claims at any given time, it wasn’t surprising that they couldn’t do more but Davis sure wished he had realized that sooner.  In a nutshell, his work comp carrier was an insurance provider but not an insurance partner.

Losing Money & Losing Sleep!

Davis painfully wrote a check for the 40% higher insurance premiums because he had to keep his company operating.  What became his new #1 priority was to find a true partner who could help to un-do some of the damage that had already been done.  To add insult to injury, Davis learned that because of the elevated rating from his workers comp carrier, his company was no longer eligible to put their name in the hat with many of the large G/Cs that they had worked with in the past.  Now, not only was he paying extremely high insurance premiums but the money that used to come in the door was now trickling away because they couldn’t win jobs.  Davis was losing money and he was losing sleep – lots of both!

Solutions Found Through Allies

Thomas, a friend, recommended a company called BBSI to Davis.  “My wife’s company works with BBSI and they are like Johnny-on-the-Spot in helping her with insurance things,” said Thomas.  “Then, when my company needed a partner to help us with some of the HR issues we were having, BBSI also had expertise in that area so we went with them and it has completely changed the way we manage our people and our business.  You should give them a call, Davis.  Maybe they can help you with this insurance mess.”

Davis scheduled time with BBSI.  He explained his company’s current situation and how they had gradually dug themselves into a hole because no one was actually monitoring claims, reaching out to them with periodic reports, or instituting any preventative measures on the front end.  BBSI explained that they would assign a Risk Manager who would work directly with Davis’s Risk Manager and their front line employees to strengthen the company’s risk management protocols.  BBSI also explained that their HR Manager would work with Davis’s team to strengthen their HR programs and compliance which would synergize different parts of the company so that everyone was singing from the same song sheet and working together toward the same – profitable – goals.

Comes The Dawn

Davis signed up with BBSI and their new-and-improved plan immediately began to take shape.  Davis’s company saw more efficient payroll procedures, stronger HR protocols, and increased risk management which meant that workers comp claims were dropping!  Suddenly, Davis found that he was able to invest a lot more time working with his team and building the company than spending so much time and energy holed up in his office worrying how the company was going to rebound.

Several months passed and Davis was beginning to see real light at the end of the tunnel.  Because of the programs that Davis instituted with BBSI, his company actually saved $40,000 over the course of the first year in top-line costs alone.

Goal-Setting, Teamwork & Keeping Everyone’s Eyes On The Ball

The company as a whole set a goal of reducing workers comp claims for the coming year.  Days ticked by without any incidents…then weeks…and eventually months went by without any new claims being filed.  Not only were Operations and H.R. taking notice — the insurance company was also taking notice!  By the second year’s renewal time, the company’s insurance premium had dropped by 25%.  When their rating finally dropped below the magical 1.0, Davis’s company was again able to go after contracts that they were previously excluded from.

With company revenues on the rise and increased profits, Davis was able to reflect on the changes they had made.  One of the biggest wins for the company was that Davis and his employees were now paying more attention to safety.  The training that hiring managers received about how to hire and terminate employees – and how to hire better in the first place – has increased retention and cut the company’s onboarding costs significantly.  The icing on the cake is that the newly-instituted HR protocols helped to create a team environment and strengthen the company culture vs. the divisive us-vs-them mentality that had started to rear its ugly head.

By spending more time with clients and vendors, Davis was able to strengthen those relationships.  Three years into their retooling efforts, Davis’s company has increased revenues by 43%.  As he turns the lights off in his office on a Friday afternoon and heads toward the weekend, Davis realizes that the American dream is once again alive and well and living within his masonry company.



This article was contributed to the National Franchise Institute by Knight Hinman with BBSI  (303) 929-9946.

A Tale of Brand Compliance Rescue

A Tale of Brand Compliance Rescue


The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

Jake started his career as a general manager, working at his former employer’s fitness studio.  He connected with the community and ran the studio like a well-oiled machine.  Years went by and because Jake ran the studio so well, the community actually thought he was the owner.  He was proud of his frugality and ability to confront and fix anything without hiring a specialist.

The thought that Jake’s hard work and the sense of community that he built was going unnoticed by the owner was starting to eat at him.  Despite his hard work, at the end of the day, he was making more profit and building more brand equity for the owner of the fitness studio than for himself.

One day, Jake approached the owner with a proposition to buy the fitness business.  After some negotiation, they struck a deal and Jake was now the proud owner of the neighborhood health hangout spot.  Jake found that he had created and documented systems so well that the fitness studio ran like a well-oiled machine.   He shared the secrets to his success with some friends who worked downtown and they saw more potential in this individual location and Jake’s system and suggested that he build a franchise.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

A decade went by in the blink of an eye – and during that time Jake built his franchise to 54 fitness studios.   Life was good.  After more than a decade, it was time to refresh the brand.  As part of “Jake’s Fresh Refresh”, he updated the brand guidelines and specified all of the new requirements that his franchisees would need as part of the refresh rollout.

Jake provided each of his franchisees with a huge binder that contained specifications on budget, brand standards, colors, sizes, manufacturers, placement, channel letter component colors, brick demolition tips and tricks, as well as landscape and workout regime changes.   The binder also contained vendor contact information where each of the new components could be bought and a list of approved sign vendors, installers, and a list of the required permits.  Although there were a lot of branded components that needed to be changed (9 external signs, 8 internal signs and the printing of new studio workout sheets), Jake felt confident that anybody could pick up his binder and follow the instructions to knock out the brand refresh in just a few months.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Jake’s altruistic sentiment was quickly crushed when franchisees started calling him.  Initially, they didn’t see how they could possibly run their fitness studios, order all of the rebranded items, coordinate sign vendors, pull permits, and teach new workout routines to their employees – and they were right.

Many of the fitness studio owners were also savvy business leaders and they figured they could ‘comply’ with the new brand standards by producing materials locally and hiring local handymen to install the signs.

“I Should Have Left ‘Well Enough’ Alone!

Jake was excited to start visiting the newly-branded locations.  Unfortunately, what he found instead was a disaster.   Of the handful of local studios that he visited, almost none complied with the new brand standards.   Signs were in the wrong places, manufacturered in the wrong colors, and in some cases, evidence of the previously removed sign was still visible.   Once inside, Jake found that even some of the new workout instructions were printed with the old logo.

“This will never do!” thought Jake.   “We invested all of this time and money and the end result is worse than before we ever messed with anything.  And on top of all that, our franchisees were pulled away from running their studios in order to do these tasks.  I should have known better.  No one was sitting around with nothing to do before we decided to rebrand.  How could I think they could take this on on top of everything else they were already doing?”

Light At The End of the Tunnel

Frantic, Jake and his team began scouring the internet searching for brand compliance rescue companies and anybody who understood their dilemma.  What he found was a video about a company called Implementix that could help them implement and maintain brand consistency across multiple locations:

  • Cost Certainty – research and up front planning guarantees a set price for the entire project
  • Supply Chain – qualified supply chain experts are vetted so the work is done right, by the right people
  • Execution – by managing the removal and installation of all assets through to completion, the brand is refreshed per the Franchisor’s exact requirements
  • Ongoing Management – identification and documentation of all branded assets are maintained on a cloud-based portal
  • Brand Compliance – Brand Guardians identify brand compliance gaps during changes or moves
  • Workflow Tasks – Brand guardians are able to create workflow alerts and corrective action tracking for brand compliance and usage issues

Even If You Are On The Right Track, You Will Get Run Over If You Just Sit There

At first, Jake was skeptical of a company that could make outrageous claims like guaranteeing the price per franchise unit but the clock was ticking and his brand was suffering every day that the old mismatched items were in place – not to mention the growing frustration of his franchisees.

Jake engaged Implementix and within 4 weeks, every single location in their system had the old assets removed and the new ones in place, exactly as Jake’s new brand standards specified:  interior and exterior signage as well as their marketing collateral.

The online compliance portal was an added bonus.  With one point of contact, the portal allowed Jake and his studio owners to share the burden of brand compliance so that everyone spent more time in their studios and less time on tasks that don’t generate any revenues for the system.



This article was contributed to the National Franchise Institute by Colin Thomas with Implementix  (888) 831-2536.

What My Unlocked Front Door Taught Me About Cyber Security

What My Unlocked Front Door Taught Me About Cyber Security

I had an odd experience the other day.  I was on the phone working from my home office and I could see a man walking up to my door through my blinds.  My house is currently for sale, which has increased the number of strangers knocking on my door.  I figured he was going to ask about the house, so I decided to stay on my call since all of the information he would need about the house is on a sell sheet, conveniently located at the edge of the yard.  I heard him knock and yell “hello” a few times, but then I thought I heard a different noise – the sound of my security screen door OPENING.  I had a quick ‘no way’ moment and swiftly got up to check on the noise, terrified to discover that this strange man was … IN MY KITCHEN!


What Is My Home’s  First Line of Defense?


So why am sharing this somewhat personal story?  Because it made me think about the conversations I’ve had around cyber security.  My screen door serves a security function.  Primarily it is an access point into my house, but it is also as a first line of defense to keep unwanted or unknown people or things from entering.  Obviously if the screen door is going to be effective as a first line of defense, the door must be locked.  A locked door only allows those with authorized access, someone with a key, or someone that I personally allow access to, the ability to enter.


What is Your Company Network’s First Line of Defense?


This, my friends, is much like our first line of defense for our business networks:  firewalls are our security screen doors.  Firewalls are meant to guard/monitor the traffic that goes into and out of our networks; however, an improperly configured or unmanaged firewall will be as ineffective as my unlocked front door when it comes to keeping bad agents out.


After I escorted the stranger out of my house (who actually ended up being a curious potential buyer), I went around and locked EVERY door that anyone from the street might have access to. Wouldn’t you know it, not even ten minutes later, the same man was back at my door.  He tried to walk in again, this time to ask if he could see the backyard, but his efforts were thwarted because I activated the security measure of the door – the deadbolt.


The Moral of the Story


What’s the moral of the story here?  Our security is only as good as the end user.  You can have processes in place, but if they aren’t being implemented they’re useless.  A minor lapse in judgement can leave us vulnerable to all type of threats.  Fortunately for me, my intruder was nothing worse than a person who thought it was ok to let himself into my residence.  Sadly, that’s not always the case – either at home or with our computer networks.  I can almost guarantee a stranger who goes into your network, will be doing more than just “looking around”.


Are you leaving unlocked doors on your network?  You can assess your point-of-sale (POS) security risk with this quick Risk Assessment.


This article was contributed to the National Franchise Institute by Aubree Coderre from Netsurion   (760) 637-4679

Brand New National Franchise Opportunity: FITtec – The Evolution of Fitness

Brand New Nationwide Franchise Opportunity!


FITtec™, with its electro muscular stimulation (EMS) technology, is the evolution of  fitness!


Remember the good old days when working out meant spending a lot of time at a huge gym rotating between several different (and EXPENSIVE) pieces of equipment?  Technology is changing all of that and FITtec is bringing Xbody EMS training to the U.S. as a cutting-edge franchise opportunity!

The electro muscular stimulation technology behind FITtec is currently used in dozens of countries around the world.  FITtec is a low-impact, toning and muscle-building + cardio workout rolled into one.  Suiting up and working out for twenty minutes, twice a week is all it takes.


What makes FITtec a unique franchise opportunity?

  • Smaller space requirements (less than 1,600 sf) means lower monthly rent and higher ROI
  • Lower initial investment:  EMS-technology devices replace numerous, high-cost pieces of equipment
  • Minimal staffing requirements, ideally suited for Owner/Operators
  • Early-adopter franchise fee of $25,000 for the first 5 units
  • Royalty fee of 6%
  • Hands-on help, support, training and communication throughout the life of your franchise (including site selection and build-out assistance, operations training, organizational assistance, and a turnkey marketing program)
  • Preferred franchise fees for Veterans


As a proven device, EMS technology is more than just fitness.  In addition to fitness enthusiasts, FITtec clients also include people who are recovering from accidents or injuries as well as those who live with chronic conditions like arthritis.


If you are interested in learning more about this profitable, cutting-edge fitness franchise opportunity, we would love to hear from you!

Please contact Rick Grossmann (844) 372-6482

The Brand Consistency Problem: Policing vs. Promoting

The Brand Consistency Problem:  Policing vs. Promoting


Once upon a time, Pete could do it all.  The year was 2002 and he had just launched Pete’s Bar & Grill in downtown Atlanta. With only 8 employees under his wing, there wasn’t much he didn’t see or do.  Who handled marketing?  That was Pete.  Accounting?  Pete did that too. Design?  Pete was no designer himself, but he oversaw design as well.


In Pete’s mind, he had set himself up for success. He knew his food was really good, that his branding was on-point, and that no one would be able to pass up Tuesday night “Karaoke & Kabobs”.  Pete’s Bar & Grill was his pride and joy, and so long as he was in charge, not one thing was going to mess it up.


But that was back in 2002 – the good ol’ days when Pete could do it all.  Fast forward 15 years to the present. Instead of managing 8 employees at a single location, Pete now managed a small kingdom of 30 franchised locations.  From the outside, it would appear that Pete was living the franchise-owner’s dream.  In reality, Pete had a big problem.

‘Close Enough’ Is Good Enough


When Pete’s Bar & Grill first expanded into the hands of franchisees, everyone was gung ho and had no problem adhering to brand standards and design guidelines. They understood how important it was for the brand to look consistent across every marketing medium so that customers would know without a doubt that they were at the one and only Pete’s Bar & Grill.


But as the success of the brand grew, so did the pressure.  In the hustle and bustle of feeding hungry customers, keeping the bars clean, placing orders, managing inventory, and keeping up with food safety regulations, spending time and energy on the ‘proper’ use of logos and colors seemed less important – especially since sales were going so well at all of their locations.


Rachel, Pete’s corporate designer of six years, began to notice the company’s branding was slipping.  Franchisees were just too busy to dot the ‘I’ of every font choice or cross the ‘t’ of every color option and began throwing together hodge-podge variations of Pete’s Bar & Grill branding just so they could get some semblance of marketing in front of customers.  Rachel tried pushing brand regulations with the franchisees, but the more she persisted, the less his franchisees seemed to care. You could cut the tension with a knife.

Good vs. Great

Now, Pete was a smart man. He’d done the research and knew that the difference between a good brand and a great brand was consistency.  After all, consistency is the cornerstone of franchising and was one of the key reasons that Pete decided to franchise in the first place.  Consistent food, consistent service, a consistent experience, and a consistent ‘look’ is exactly why he chose the franchise model.  Clearly the franchisees were delivering consistent food, service, and a consistent customer experience.  But how could he achieve branding consistency without either policing his franchisees or bogging down his creative team?  That seemed to be the question of the day.


Desperate for a solution, Rachel began to do some research.  She jumped on Youtube and did a search for brand consistency and found a quick two-minute video by Lucidpress that was exactly on point with the growing pains that were happening at Pete’s Bar & Grill.  Rachel couldn’t wait to share her huge find with Pete!  


“Hey Pete… ever heard of Lucidpress?” Rachel greeted him at the office the next morning with a surprisingly hopeful disposition. They sat down and took a look together.

The Evolution of Brand Management

“Wow, Rachel, you are a genius – this is fantastic!”  Pete couldn’t have designed a better solution himself He discovered that Lucidpress is a cloud-based brand management tool that:

  • Streamlines marketing by allowing any franchisee to customize marketing collateral on their own without waiting on the help of a designer.
  • Protects franchisees from going off-brand with custom, lockable templates — that way “close enough” variations are never a possibility
  • Reduces the custom collateral request turnaround process from weeks to minutes.
  • Provides publishing and printing services, delivered right to everyone’s door.


So they gave Lucidpress a try.  Rachel began designing flyer, menu, and business card templates based on Pete’s Bar & Grill brand guidelines.  From there, she locked down the logo, colors, and other branded elements that should never be altered, and then she shared the templates with Pete’s franchisees.  The franchisees loved it and immediately began dropping in the local details for their individual locations.  After all, that was much easier and less time-consuming than the hodge-podge creations they had been doing on their own – and Rachel was now a valued part of Pete’s franchisor support team instead of the adversarial ‘branding police’.  Franchisees were excited to send their finished projects to the printer, to publish them online, and to post them to social media.

Light at The End of The Tunnel

Pete wasn’t fully aware of how well the new solution was working until two months later when he stepped inside the building of his most frequent brand offender.  When he couldn’t tell the difference between his franchisee’s designs and Rachel’s, he knew he had finally struck brand-building gold.

Pete recognized that he — like a lot of other franchisors — had been unintentionally wasting precious time and resources policing brand standards instead of promoting them.  What a relief it was to know that now he could encourage everyone to get back to doing what they do best…build their businesses! 


This article was contributed to the National Franchise Institute by Nick Hatch with Lucidpress  (385) 557-5117